Petition seeks Ontario Amber Alerts for autistic children following death of Draven Graham

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Petition seeks Ontario Amber Alerts for autistic children following death of Draven Graham's Profile


In the wake of the death of a boy in Lindsay, Ont., an online petition is requesting an Amber Alert system be created for missing autistic and vulnerable/specials needs children.

On Monday, OPP divers located the body of 11-year-old Draven Graham in the Scugog River, which flows through the town. The City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service said Draven, who was reported missing from his home on Sunday afternoon, was autistic and had a sensory irritation to touch and would not answer to his name.

Read more:

OPP divers locate body of missing Lindsay, Ont. boy Draven Graham in Scugog River, police say

Some of his clothing was located and police believe the rainfall on Sunday may have bothered him and prompted him to remove his clothing.

The petition on Change.org created in honour of Draven seeks support for officials to create the “Draven Alert” for missing autistic and vulnerable/specials needs children.

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As of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the petition had surpassed its initial goal of 25,000 signatures with more than 28,000 supporters. The goal has been increased to 35,000 signatures. As of 3 pm. there were more than 32,000 signatures.

“I have seen other petitions for the same subject popping up and I encourage everyone to sign every single one of them that you come across,” said petition creator Kat Reid of Hamilton.

“The more awareness and attention we can bring to this while it’s still fresh in everyone’s minds, the better. Unfortunately all the hype dies down very quickly in these situations, nothing ends up changing, and then the list of tragic endings continues to grow.”

In Ontario, OPP issue Amber Alerts for cases involving abductions of children. The system sends mass notifications to cellphones. Police services across the province can request an alert if the following guidelines are met:

  • Police believe a child under 18 has been abducted.
  • Police believe the child is in danger
  • Descriptions of a child, abductor or vehicle are available.
  • Police believe an immediate broadcast will help locate a child

Reid’s petition has multitude of supporters of a system for autistic children.

“An Amber Alert could have perhaps saved this young man’s life,” Shelia Giovannetti of London, Ont., wrote on the petition webpage.

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Some have suggested expanding an alert to include autistic adults.

“Please remember autism doesn’t end at 18 and let’s make sure autistic/ vulnerable adults & seniors are also included on this alert,” Rachel Laroque of Woodbridge wrote.

Also on Monday night, a GoFundMe page was launched to support the family of Draven.

Created by Jason Meneely, an uncle of Draven, the campaign aims to raise $10,000. More than $5,300 had been raised by 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“We all appreciate the community and how they came together in the search for Draven,” Meneely stated. “Jess (Draven’s mother) and Mike (stepdad) are going to have to do the unthinkable in the upcoming days and could really use the help in cost. If you can find it in your hearts to help them I know they would forever be great full (sic).”

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© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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